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There are basically three ways to compose a new e-mail message. You can create one from scratch, you can reply to an e-mail you've received, or you can forward a message you received to another recipient. Let's start by taking a look at creating an e-mail from scratch. In just about all e-mail clients, you'll click a button labeled New Message, or New, or Compose. This opens the New Message window. Now, you can fill out the fields in here in any order, but let's work our way down from the top. In the To field, you'll enter the e-mail address of the person or people you want to send this message to.
Your e-mail can have any number of recipients in the To field. In all e-mail clients, you separate the e-mail addresses with a comma. Now, as a general rule of etiquette, you should only use the To field for people whom the message is directly addressing. For example, if you're sending out maybe a party invitation, you can put all of your guests in the To field. Just realize that each recipient of your e-mail will be able to see the addresses of all the other people you've sent the e-mail to. I'll tell you how to prevent this in just a moment. If you want to send an e-mail to multiple people, but you're only sending the e-mail to one or more of the recipients as kind of an FYI, you should put the main recipient's address in the To field and the secondary recipient's address in the Cc field.
Cc stands for Carbon Copy. So, for example, maybe you're sending an e-mail to answer a customer's question, and you want to make sure your supervisor sees that you sent that e-mail. You would put the customer's address in the To field and your supervisor's address in the Cc field. Note that the customer would also then see that you sent a copy of the e-mail to your supervisor. Now, if you don't want your recipient to see who else received a copy of the e-mail you're sending, put all of their addresses in the Bcc, or Blind Carbon Copy field. In some e-mail clients, like Mac Mail here, the Bcc field is not visible by default.
So you may have to hunt around to find the menu to add it to the message you're composing. So in the case of Mac Mail, I click this menu and choose Bcc Address Field, which gives me the Bcc field. The Bcc field is useful when you need to send an e-mail to a large number of recipients, maybe you have several dozen customers on a mailing list, and it's considered very poor e-mail etiquette to reveal the e-mail addresses of strangers to each other. So, if you wanted to let the people in your mailing list know about a new product or service, you could put all of the addresses in the Bcc field. So when someone receives an e-mail in which they've been Bcc'ed on, they'll only see your address as the sender, and the other recipients of the e-mail won't be visible to them.
Now, with some e-mail clients you might still have to place an address in the To field, even though you just want to put everybody in the Bcc field, in which case you can just put your own address in the To field. Next, you should enter a subject for your e-mail. Many people tend to leave the Subject field blank, but it's always a good idea to sum up the point of your e-mail with a short phrase. First of all, it lets your recipients know what you are e-mailing them about right off the bat, and secondly, if they go to search for your e-mail later on, they'll have a better chance of finding it if you use a good, descriptive subject line.
And after that, it's just a matter of composing your e-mail. Just click in the body of the message window and type out your message. Now, in most cases, you'll just be typing plain text with no kind of formatting like bold, italics or color, and while many e-mail clients will let you format your e-mails almost like a Word processing document, I recommend sticking with plain text if you can. Because there are so many different e-mail clients and no guarantees that your e-mail will look the same on your recipient's computer as you intended, I don't think it's worth the time and effort to send a formatted e-mail, also known as HTML e-mail, in most cases.
Now, if you're running a business, and you need to include product images and prices all laid out nicely, then yes, HTML e-mail is probably a good way to go. But personal e-mail messages don't really need that kind of laying out or design most of the time. Just finish off my message here. And once you're done typing your message, you want to read through it to check for typos and to make sure you've said everything you need to say. If you need to attach any files like photos, or PDF documents, or maybe even a short audio or video clip, look for and click the Attach button, which will let you browse to the file that you want to attach.
I don't need to attach any files in this case, so I'll just click Cancel. Also, be aware that many e-mail service providers limit the size of files you can send and receive over e-mail. So if the file you attach is too large for either your, or your recipient's e-mail server, your e-mail might get sent back to you. But if everything looks good, just go ahead and click Send, and that's all there is to composing an e-mail from scratch. Now, another way to create a new message is to reply to an e-mail. You reply when someone has sent you an e-mail and you want to respond directly to him or her with a message related to the one they sent you.
Just select the message and then click the Reply button. In most cases, this opens a new message that includes a copy of the e-mail you received for reference. Everything else in this message window is pretty much the same, except you don't have to fill in the To field, because you're replying, and the e-mail client will automatically fill this field out with the address of the person or people you're replying to. If necessary you can Cc or Bcc other people when replying to an e-mail message, and generally you don't change the Subject field when replying to a message. You want to leave it as is so your recipients can see that you're replying to the message they sent you.
Then it's just a matter of typing out your message and then sending it off. And the third way to create a new message is to forward a message you've received from someone else. With the message selected, click Forward. This is similar to replying to a message in that a copy of the message is included in the body of your new e-mail. But note that the To field is blank, and that the Subject field begins with FWD, for forward. Forwarding an e-mail is basically passing a message onto another person for them to read.
Now, you're free to type in your own message in the e-mail as well. As a general rule, type anything you have to say at the top of the message, leaving the copied portion of the message below. Then just make sure your recipient's e-mail address is in the To field, and then you can send off the message, and there you have the basics of composing e-mail messages.
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